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Reading at the Polygon


Research shows that teenagers who choose to pick up a book for pleasure are more likely to succeed in life. Getting them to do so, however, isn’t easy.

Reading for pleasure at the age of 15 is a strong factor in determining future social mobility. Indeed, it has been revealed as the most important indicator of the future success of the child.


A distinction is being drawn between different motivations for reading – whether it is done for its own sake, or whether it is the result of being cajoled by carrots and sticks. Research suggests those who read for pleasure demonstrate an intrinsic desire to engage with stories, texts, and learning. Reading for pleasure therefore reveals a predisposition not just to literature, but to the sort of lifelong learning that explains increased social mobility.

There is a simple conclusion to draw from all this. We must encourage our children to read for pleasure. But that is easy to say and hard to achieve, particularly in the culture in which many young people grow up today in Britain. They have plenty of other leisure activities to choose from.

They can, of course, read on a screen, but we read in different ways when reading different formats. The language of emails, for example, is not the same as the language we would use in a letter. Analysis so far of the impact of digital literature is that it can play an important role in building core literacy skills, but there is an ongoing debate about whether it conveys the same benefits as reading a physical book.


It is with this in mind that we passionately pursue the development of reading at our school. Each of our pupils has the opportunity to read to an adult at least three times a week - adults actively model reading for pleasure and children are encouraged to read aloud in different environments. It is hoped that a love of reading and an appreciation of literature will develop during their time at our school.